Monday, April 12, 2010

Democracy in America: Soft Despotism

Democracy in America continued-

America's "new master", according to Tocqueville, will not be the abrupt and brutal regimes merging out of the French and Russian Revolution. No. It will operate under the guise of humanitarianism; that is, it will intervene in the private sector and meddle into people's private affairs on the basis that it seeks to help the needy. It will move slowly through local, State and Federal channels of government; using preventive measures to achieve its agenda. Like the erosion of our social freedoms over the last six decades, it will chip away at our civil and religious liberties one stroke at a time until we look up and find a new master staring down at us.

Of course, I say this using several years of hindsight. Tocqueville, on the other hand, relied only foresight. Good religious, historical and civic education can go a long way in anticipating future trends.

This last quote from Tocqueville is a prophetic one. It illustrates the political and social challenges facing America in recent months:

"If despotism were to be established amongst the democratic nations of our days, it might assume a different character; it would be more extensive and more mild; it would degrade men without tormenting them.

[Under such despotism] the will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."

It is not inevitable that "soft despotism" be the fate of America. If America's dependence is to pass from the State back to God, making Him the unrivaled Shepherd once again, it must begin with three institutions: the Church, the family and education.

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